Niagara College officially opened its Teaching Brewery today marking a significant leap forward for beer education in Canada.
As part of Niagara College’s Canadian Food and Wine Institute, the Niagara College Teaching Brewery, located at the Niagara-on-the-Lake Campus, is Canada’s first and only teaching brewery. The Brewery serves as a practical learning environment for students in Niagara College’s Brewmaster and Brewery Operations Management program.
“We’re very proud to open Canada’s first and only teaching brewery,” said Jon Ogryzlo, Dean of Niagara College’s Canadian Food and Wine Institute. “This unique facility will serve as a living laboratory for students in our Brewmaster and Brewery Operations Management program, and provide valuable hands-on experience in everything from brewing to marketing and sales.”
Driven by the demand for skilled workers in Canada’s burgeoning craft brewing industry, the brewery answers the need for a training system that addresses all aspects of brewery education to fill industry-specific positions with qualified people who have practical experience and specialist knowledge in beer production, brewery management and product sales/marketing.
“Ontario Craft Brewers is proud to be a partner and supporter of Niagara College’s ground-breaking new brewing program,” said Gary McMullen, President of Muskoka Cottage Brewery and Chair of Ontario Craft Brewers (OCB). “Not only will it add to our province’s skilled labour force, it will bring our industry closer to its goal of becoming a centre of excellence for craft brewing in Ontario.”
During the opening ceremonies, Black Oak Brewing Company Brewmaster Adrian Popowycz, a member of the OCB executive and chair of NC’s Brewmaster and Brewery Operations Management program advisory committee, announced two $500 entrance scholarships for the program.
The grand opening included a Brewmaster’s Lunch and Brewmaster’s Dinner in the Niagara College restaurant, Benchmark, a symposium on Ontario hops led by grower Mike Driscoll, and a special keg-tapping ceremony that featured a keynote address by John Sleeman, Founder and Chair of Sleeman Breweries.
The open-concept state-of-the-art 1,500 sq. ft. teaching micro-brewery facility allows students to brew their own craft beer on-campus and gain significant hands-on training in beer making, sales management and sensory evaluation. The facility includes both a large scale system capable of producing 3,000 litres of beer and a smaller pilot system that allows students to brew one keg at a time – an ideal set-up for the creation of experimental brews and special beers for events that highlight the interaction between beer, food and wine.
Wherever possible, the Niagara College Teaching Brewery uses local products, while encouraging local farmers to produce malt and hops, as well as other brew flavourings such as honey and fruit.
Students will learn their craft by brewing a full range of beers, including lagers, ales, seasonal brews, wheat beers and more. Retail sales of the Niagara College Teaching Brewery’s products are available adjacent to the Brewery. Fittingly called “First Draft,” these student-made beers are currently available in lager and ale, with specialty beers available during certain times of the year.
Working with Niagara College’s Applied Research department, Niagara Research, the Teaching Brewery will be planting an acre of hops on campus as a teaching and research area, which will provide students with hands-on experience with growing and harvesting hops.
Niagara College offers more than 90 diploma, bachelor degree and advanced level programs at campuses in Welland, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Niagara Falls and St. Catharines. Areas of specialization include food and wine sciences, advanced technology, media, applied health and community safety, supported by unique learning enterprises in food, wine, beer, horticulture and esthetics. For more information, visit http://www.NiagaraCollege.ca.
For information, contact:
Director, Marketing & Communications
905 735-2211 ext. 7567
905 650-7820 (cell)